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WTF is TEF and why is it bad?

Don’t be deceived by its name; the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), part of the Higher Education Bill, that the government will be introducing in 2017/18 will negatively affect students, academics and universities in numerous ways.

When implemented, the TEF will see a rise in tuition fees, an unfair Olympic-style ranking system for university quality and a marketisation of education, with students from poor or disadvantaged backgrounds being the most affected.

These exclusive, elitist and unjust principles are why the Students’ Union is strongly opposing the TEF, as we believe that education is something that should be freely available to all and not an exclusive commodity to be bought, sold and ranked.

Here is what some of our Full-Time Officers have to say about the TEF and why it is bad:

Annie, President of the Students’ Union:

TEF is one of many changes to University Education that the UK government wants to implement. It will increase tuition fees year on year, create competition between universities and is based on principles that do not measure the real value of education, such as graduate salary. This is why TEF is bad. This is the marketisation of education that needs combatting: education is not a commodity to be sold on a market. Join the national demo on November 19th in London and spread the word that Universities are changing, and not for the good!

Rose, Postgraduate Education Officer:

The idea that students want their education system to be based on competition and high fees is completely ridiculous; the government’s argument that students are at the heart of these reforms is almost insulting and you don't have to look very hard to see that's not true - just look at the Office for Students for example, which has no student representation on it. I'm really concerned that once we go down this road of the marketisation of education it's going to be almost impossible to come back from. Education as a public good will become part of history and so it's more important than ever now for students, at all levels of study, and academics to unite to fight these changes.

Savannah, Undergraduate Education Officer:

The worst danger is that universities are being forced into ideologically subscribe to a ranking system that reduces the value of education to a product according to its market worth. This will stamp out the individuality of universities and undermine their purpose as places of difference, ideas and creativity.  

It is not the direct fault of universities that we are in this situation, it is the government's changes. However, if we are not vocal in resisting these; as students and as institutions, we are complicit in the development of these changes which will be to the detriment of students and to the integrity of education.

What you can do

To combat the issue at hand, the Students’ Union has started the TEF OFF campaign, which aims to spread awareness about the negative implications of the TEF, to put pressure on the University and build national solidarity around the issue.

National DEMO: United for Education is happening on 19 November in London, organised by the NUS and UCU. Please email hannah.m@sussexstudent.com if you are interested in coming along or want any more information.

Rose, PG Education Officer, along with Sorana (NUS Vice President Higher Education), is running a workshop on the TEF, called ‘Quality Doesn't Grow on Fees: campaigning against Teaching Excellence Framework, HE Bill and pushing for our vision’, on 21 October at 1.15pm.

This is a time-sensitive issue that will affect all of you in one way or another, so please get behind us!

 

Contact us

Got a comment/criticism about anything discussed in this article? Let us know on our social media channels!

facebook.com/thestudentsunion

twitter.com/ussu

instagram.com/sussexsu

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